Knowing about God through His Wise Ordinances

Chris Schmidt, Board Member

“The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens” (Proverbs 3:19)

It would be foolish to spend any amount of time, talent and money building something that didn’t work. We expect everything to work as it should! Imagine the mayhem of trying to survive where everything behaved randomly and chaotically! Imagine having body organs that would erratically malfunction or become diseased at any moment, or using machines that would breakdown for no good reason, or attempting to grow food crops that would inexplicably turn poisonous, or coping with the sun arbitrarily moving too close or too far from us, or dealing with an aimlessly changing force of gravity? Happily, things don’t behave haphazardly in our world!

It is very easy to take our world for granted, but, if it wasn’t for the continuously dependable behaviors of everything in it, we would cease to exist. Think of these routine behaviors that we hardly ever think about but rely on – the sun’s nuclear fusion of hydrogen, our planet’s unceasing rotation and revolution movements, the dependable cycling of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water, the photosynthesis reactions in plants and the thousands of critical biochemical and enzyme reactions happening in our cells every second.

Our lives are sustained by the reliable behaviors of everything in and around us. This is because everything in the universe is endowed with specific behavioral attributes which all work in synchrony to produce a planet vibrant for life.

The Universe’s Precision and Balance for the Existence of Life

Isaiah penned a landmark principle about the creation.  “For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited . . .”  (Isaiah 45:18).  The Holy Spirit made sure that we understood that there was a definite purpose behind the creation of our wonderful world.  It had not come in existence by some random accident but was deliberately created for us so that we could not only survive but thrive!  Even unbelievers have noticed this.

In 1973, astrophysicist Dr. Brandon Carter, an unbeliever, “delivered a paper called ‘Large Number of Coincidences and the Anthropic Principle in Cosmology.’  Dr. Carter coined the phrase ‘anthropic principle,’ derived from the Greek word anthropos, which means ‘man.’  Dr. Carter proposed an extraordinary theory; that the only rational way to explain the fact that the Universe existed as it does, with an incredibly precise balance between all of the multitude of forces including gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong nuclear force that made our Universe possible, can only be explained if they were fine-tuned in such a precise manner to allow human life to exist on Earth” (Creation by Grant Jeffrey).

Dr. Carter and other scientists have discovered dozens of fundamental entities that are so vital, so finely tuned and balanced that just one or two minor tweaks of difference would destroy all life forms forever.  Other examples include the existence and balance of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and water, the unique properties of water, the vital nutrients in topsoil, the sizes of the sun and earth, the distance of the earth from the sun, the 23 degree inclination of the earth, the rotational speed of earth, the stabilizing effect of our moon, the 19 fundamental physical constants such as the speed of light and the four fundamental forces in the universe (the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force and the gravitational force).

Even agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow sees this purposeful precision in our world. He wrote, “Thus according to the physicist and the astronomer, it appears that the universe was constructed within very narrow limits, in such a way that man could dwell in it.  It is the most theistic* result ever to come out of science, in my view” (The Intellectuals Speak Out about God).  *belief in God

The Lord’s Ordinances

Scientists have since discovered things that were first described by God in His Word.  Everything He creates runs in a precise, orderly fashion as Christian astrophysicist Jason Lisle explains. “The universe obeys certain rules—laws to which all things must adhere. These laws are precise, and many of them are mathematical in nature . . . Natural laws exist because the universe has a Creator God who is logical and has imposed order on His universe, (Genesis 1:1) . . . Everything in the universe, every plant and animal, every rock, every particle of matter or light wave, is bound by laws which it has no choice but to obey . . . God’s logic is built into the universe, and so the universe is not haphazard or arbitrary” (God and Natural Law).

Science, then, is all about discovering the properties and behaviors of everything created by our very wise God.  As Christian hydrologist Henry Morris and his son, Henry Morris III explain, “Science seeks to understand and describe the nature of the universe and all its components, the processes that take therein, the nature of life and all living creatures, and especially the character and meaning of human life”  (Many Infallible Proofs).

It is not surprising, then, that scientists have discovered dozens upon dozens of laws, rules, regulations, codes and conventions of conduct that govern the activities of all the entities of the universe.  The Bible describes these natural laws as ordinances, “the ordinances of heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 33:25).  The word ordinance means something ordered, decreed, prescribed or appointed and includes statutes, laws, and enactments.  There are dozens of ordinances affecting the fields of biology, genetics, geology, hydrology, meteorology, astronomy, horology and physics described in the Bible (see appendix)

Lessons about God from His Wise Ordinances

God provides us with the knowledge of His beneficial ordinances controlling the universe to reveal His wisdom, care and lovingkindnesses.  One example of His use of these ordinances was during His personal interactions with Job.  When Job questioned the purposefulness of life, including his own existence and God’s actions, God responded with examples of His wisdom, care and sovereign control over all things in chapters 38-41 in the book of Job.  God’s lessons included His brilliance in forming earth and controlling all of its components (including the oceans, day and night, the weather and every celestial body) and caring for all creatures.

Bible teacher Theodore Epp discusses God’s lessons for Job. “God’s first question begins with the earth, man’s dwelling place.  Does Job know the history of this own abode?  Where was he when the Great Architect laid the foundations?  These were not placed upon shifting sands or sold rock but in empty space where there is apparent nothingness.  Where are these foundations?  Present-day knowledge talks learnedly about nebulas and the solar system and of the attraction of the law of gravity . . . Men speak knowingly of the laws of cohesion and of chemical affinity so that the particles of the earth cleave together.  These things science tells us as it speaks of the laws of nature, but we must remember that where there are laws there has to be a lawgiver. Who established these laws?  How is it they act so unfailingly?  . . . Yet where can the laws of nature lead us but back to God Himself?  . . . As far as the physical world and its laws and its foundation are concerned they all go back to God Himself.  He has made certain laws by which the earth hangs in space . . . God has so devised nature that an honest examination of it will cause us to look beyond it to Him” (Job, a Man Tried as Gold).

God’s Wise Ordinances Reveal a Personal God

This is the perfect place to complete the passage from Isaiah 45:18 for it reads, “For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.  Pondering the wonders of our world is a worthy enterprise but could result in one being blinded to the ultimate purpose behind them.  Their marvels should lead us to our Marvelous Maker!  The study of creation should lead us to discover more about our personal, relatable Creator who says, “I am the LORD, and there is no other.” 

Paul ties together creation and the Creator so well in his writings.  He encouraged the Colossian church to always link every aspect of creation with our Creator. They are never to be divorced from one another.  He wrote, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16, 17).”  The word ‘’consist” means stand together.  So, Jesus Christ not only established everything, He personally ensures that everything remains functionally united.  He does all this through His ordinances.

Theologian John Frame details this a bit more. “So the biblical view of the natural world is intensely personalistic.  Natural events come from God, the personal Lord . . .  the idea that there is some impersonal mechanism called ‘nature’ or ‘natural law’ that governs the universe is absent from the Bible.  So is the notion of an ultimate ‘randomness,’ as postulated by some exponents of quantum mechanics . . . It is plain that in the view of the biblical writers any impersonal objects or forces (gravity, electricity) are only secondary causes of the course of nature.  Behind them, as behind the rain and the hail, behind even the apparent randomness of events, stand the personal God, who controls all things by His powerful word.” (The Doctrine of God)

God can be Found and Known!

By taking time out to ponder our world and noticing its purposeful, life-sustaining precision of all things, we will discover a caring Creator God.  The apostle Paul pointed this out when he spoke to the leaders of Athens.  He directed these men to look at the big picture and they would see a wise Maker and Manager, controlling everything for mankind’s benefit.  But, more so, He can be personally found and known! 

“Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.  Therefore . . . Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth . . .  since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being . . .” (Acts 17:22-28).

Do you see our Lord’s personal touch in your life?  Have you found Him?  Do you know Him?  You can!   

Appendix of “the ordinances of heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 33:25)

Astronomy

  • Celestial Lights for Time & Night: Gen. 1:14-18
  • Constellations Described: Job 9:9, 38:31, 32
  • Different Star Energies & Accountability: 1 Cor. 15:41, Is. 40:26
  • Earth Floats in Space: Job 26:7
  • Incalculable Number of Stars: Gen. 22:17, Jer. 33:22, 25, Heb. 11:12
  • Ordinances of the Heavens & Their Rule Over Earth: Job 38:33
  • Precision or Orbits: Jeremiah 31:35-37
  • Size of the Universe: Job 9:8, 22:12, Is. 55:9, Jer. 31:37
  • Sun has a Circuit: Ps. 19:6
  • Sun’s Brilliance: Job 37:21
  • Universe Expanding: Job 9:8, 37:18, Ps. 104:2, Is. 40:22, Jer. 51:15, Zech. 12:1

Biology

  • Animal Instincts: Job 39, Prov. 6:6-8, 30:24-28, Jer. 8:7
  • Anthropic Principle: Is. 45:18
  • Biogenesis: Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 22, 24, 25
  • Blood Circulation for Life: Lev. 17:11, 14
  • Care of All Creatures: Job 38:39 – 41:34, Ps. 147:9
  • Chemical Nature of Man: Gen. 2:7, 3:19
  • Embryonic Development: Job 10:8, 31:15, Ps. 139:13-16, Ecc. 11:5
  • Everyone Related from One Blood: Acts 17:26
  • Man as Highest Creature: Gen. 1:26-28
  • Medicines: Ez. 47:12
  • Origin of Death: Ez. 18:20, Rom. 6:23
  • Origin of Different Peoples: Gen. 11
  • Origin of Food: Gen. 1:29, 30, Ps. 104:14-15
  • Origin of Sexes: Gen. 1:27, 2:21-23
  • Personhood in Utero: Ps. 139:13-16, Jer. 1:5

Genetics

  • Different Flesh: 1 Cor. 15:39
  • Like Kinds: Gen. 1:11-12, 21-22, 24-25, 29, 3:20, James 3:12
  • Seeds: Gen. 1:11, 12, 29, 1 Cor. 15:36-38

Geology

  • Catastrophism & Fossils: Gen. 7:11, 19-23, Job 14:18, Ps. 104:6-8, Amos 9:6, 2 Pet. 3:5-6
  • Earth is Round: Job 8:27, 26:10, Is. 40:22
  • Earth Rotation: Job 38:12-14, Lk. 17:34-36
  • Erosion & Run-off: Job 14:18-19, 28:10, 38:25
  • Glacial Period: Job 37:10, 38:29-30
  • Isostasy: Ps. 104:5-9, Is. 40:12
  • Nature of Ice: Job 38:29-30
  • Original One Land Mass: Gen. 1:9
  • Sea Mountains: Jonah 2:5-6
  • Uniformitarianism: 2 Pet. 3:4

Horology

  • Origin of Day, Night & the Week: Gen. 1:3-5, 14-18, 2:1-2, Job 38:12-14
  • Origin or Months: 1 Sam. 20:5, 1 Kings 8:2
  • Origin of Seasons & Year: Gen. 1:14. Ps. 104:19
  • Origin of Time: Gen. 1:1, Jn. 1:1

Hydrology

  • Evaporation: Ps. 135:7, Jer. 10:13
  • Ice Floats: Job 38:30
  • Ocean Currents: Ps. 8:8
  • Ocean Limits & Beaches: Job 8:29, 38:8, 10-11, Ps. 33:7, Jer. 5:22
  • Sea Springs: Job 38:16
  • Water Cycle: Job 26:8, 28:26, 36:27-28, 37:11-12, 16, 38:22, 26-29, 34, 37-38, Ps. 33:7, 65:9-10, 104:13, 147:8, 16-17, 148:4, Ecc. 1:7, Is. 40:12, 55:10, Jer. 10:13, Amos 9:6, Heb, 6:7, James 5:7

Meteorology

  • Air Has Weight: Job 28:25
  • Origin of Lightning, Thunder & Wind: Job 28:26, 38:24-25, 35, Ps. 135:7, 147:18, Jer. 10:13
  • Protective Atmosphere: Is. 40:22
  • Rainbow Origin: Gen. 9:13-16
  • Wind Circuits: Ecc. 1:6

Physics

  • Atomic Fission: 2 Pet. 3:10-12
  • Creation Stopped (Law of Conservation of Mass & Energy): Gen. 2:1-3, Ecc. 1:9-10, 3:14-15, Is. 40:26, Neh. 9:6, Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:3, James 1:17, 2 Pet. 3:4, 7
  • Diffusion of Light: Job 38:24
  • Energy Source: Gen. 1:16-17, Ps. 19:4-6
  • Entropy Increases: Gen. 3:17-19. Ps. 102:25-26, Is. 51:6, Rom. 8:20-22, Heb. 1:11-12
  • Fundamental Forces: Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:3
  • Gravity: Job 26:7, 38:4-6
  • Three Dimensional Universe: Gen. 1:1-3

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